Equipment operators are employees who are assigned to work on specific company equipment. They are skilled workers trained to handle all aspects of the particular equipment, from basic operating to repairing. They use the equipment and ensure that safety standards are being followed. Aside from managing the equipment, they are also in charge of repairs and maintenance. They are responsible for ensuring that the machine works properly, troubleshooting if there are challenges encountered, and repairing any problems. Equipment operators are reliable, trustworthy, and attentive.

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Equipment Operator Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real equipment operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage and cross-train subordinates in several job-relate tasks while promoting leadership.
  • Operate track loader, dozer, excavator, track skid loader, rubber tire loader, and haul truck as assigned.
  • Operate heavy equipment including loaders and rollers.
  • Operate bulldozers, compactors, and scrapers for residential land development
  • Work include backhoe operation, equipment operation, landscaping and snow removal
  • Operate backhoes and trench diggers.
  • Perform all JSA and tailgate meetings.
  • General maintenance of grounds.Dirt and demolition work.
  • Ensure that material is delivered to the roof using ladders, pulleys and ropes.
  • Dig holes, using augers, and set poles using digger derrick and power equipment.
  • Perform daily JSA'S and keep up with performance sheets of each individual on the crew.
  • Shop upkeep, welding, oxygen and acetylene torches, working on and maintaining all equipment.
  • Drive any CDL require vehicle and operate all equipment in the oilfield for the extraction of oil.
  • DOT regulate position requiring drivers log and daily vehicle inspection duties along with monthly vehicle maintenance records.
  • Have driven trucks (no CDL currently) hauling hay, grain, water, equipment and fertilizer.

Equipment Operator Job Description

When it comes to understanding what an equipment operator does, you may be wondering, "should I become an equipment operator?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, equipment operators have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 10% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of equipment operator opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 44,000.

On average, the equipment operator annual salary is $31,739 per year, which translates to $15.26 an hour. Generally speaking, equipment operators earn anywhere from $24,000 to $40,000 a year, which means that the top-earning equipment operators make $13,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

It's hard work to become an equipment operator, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a crew foreman, mechanical spreader operator, heavy machinery operator, and foreman/operator.

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Equipment Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10% of Equipment Operators are proficient in CDL, Loaders, and Asphalt. They’re also known for soft skills such as Physical strength, Unafraid of heights, and Mechanical skills.

We break down the percentage of Equipment Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • CDL, 10%

    Included driving equipment from site to site (CDL Required) and ran all equipment including LAS unit & Hydration unit.

  • Loaders, 7%

    Operated excavators and track loaders to excavate basements and footers in residential developments.

  • Asphalt, 5%

    Asphalt removal, contaminated soil removal, underground tank removal and insulation

  • Backhoe, 5%

    Operate Cat, backhoe, front end loader, forklift, lowboy, dump truck, water truck, and excavator Mechanic

  • Hand Tools, 5%

    Maintained state-owned right-away buildings and travel-way using various hand tools and heavy equipment.

  • Safety Rules, 4%

    Followed all safety rules, operating instructions, maintenance instructions, technical instructions, procedure manuals and specifications.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Equipment Operator Resume templates

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Some of the skills we found on equipment operator resumes included "cdl," "loaders," and "asphalt." We have detailed the most important equipment operator responsibilities below.

  • Physical strength can be considered to be the most important personality trait for an equipment operator to have. According to a equipment operator resume, "construction equipment operators may be required to lift more than 50 pounds as part of their duties." Equipment operators are able to use physical strength in the following example we gathered from a resume: "test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling equipment operator duties is unafraid of heights. According to a equipment operator resume, "construction equipment operators may work at great heights." Here's an example of how equipment operators are able to utilize unafraid of heights: "completed intensive on-the-job training in hazmat and acquired certification for appropriate handling of hazardous materials. "
  • Mechanical skills is also an important skill for equipment operators to have. This example of how equipment operators use this skill comes from a equipment operator resume, "construction equipment operators often perform basic maintenance on the equipment they operate" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "perform routine maintenance and minor mechanical adjustments and repairs of motor equipment operated. "
  • See the full list of equipment operator skills.

    We've found that 17.7% of equipment operators have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 1.5% earned their master's degrees before becoming an equipment operator. While it's true that some equipment operators have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every two equipment operators did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those equipment operators who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or general studies degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for equipment operators include automotive technology degrees or criminal justice degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become an equipment operator. We've found that most equipment operator resumes include experience from Walmart, Tradesmen International, and Pike. Of recent, Walmart had 157 positions open for equipment operators. Meanwhile, there are 97 job openings at Tradesmen International and 87 at Pike.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, equipment operators tend to earn the biggest salaries at Nelsen Partners, City of Detroit, and King County. Take Nelsen Partners for example. The median equipment operator salary is $49,448. At City of Detroit, equipment operators earn an average of $45,659, while the average at King County is $44,131. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on equipment operator salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a equipment operator include United States Army Corps of Engineers, Schlumberger, and United States Marine. These three companies were found to hire the most equipment operators from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    For the most part, equipment operators make their living in the construction and manufacturing industries. Equipment operators tend to make the most in the energy industry with an average salary of $38,765. The equipment operator annual salary in the government and construction industries generally make $36,669 and $36,102 respectively. Additionally, equipment operators who work in the energy industry make 3.8% more than equipment operators in the retail Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious equipment operators are:

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    What Crew Foremans Do

    A crew foreman coordinates the daily activities in a construction site to ensure that operations adhere to deadlines, budgets, and quality standards. They serve as the point of contact for supervisors, clients, and construction workers. They are also in charge of managing construction schedules, conducting assessments and evaluations, hiring staff, training staff, monitoring supplies, and ordering materials. Additionally, they must enforce safety regulations.

    We looked at the average equipment operator annual salary and compared it with the average of a crew foreman. Generally speaking, crew foremen receive $20,190 higher pay than equipment operators per year.

    Even though equipment operators and crew foremen have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require cdl, backhoe, and hand tools in the day-to-day roles.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An equipment operator responsibility is more likely to require skills like "loaders," "asphalt," "safety rules," and "math." Whereas a crew foreman requires skills like "good communication," "bucket truck," "construction projects," and "safety equipment." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Crew foremen receive the highest salaries in the utilities industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $53,154. But equipment operators are paid more in the energy industry with an average salary of $38,765.

    Crew foremen tend to reach similar levels of education than equipment operators. In fact, crew foremen are 0.3% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.3% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Mechanical Spreader Operator?

    A mechanical spreader operators manage and operate all equipment in various industries where they perform their jobs. The operators work as general mechanics in building HVAC, general building maintenance, and pump station operations. They test electro-mechanical subsystems for operational reliability and circuit integrity. Their job includes promoting quality assurance and performance improvement programs within the organization. Also, they perform an energy audit to improve the efficiency of HVAC energy.

    Now we're going to look at the mechanical spreader operator profession. On average, mechanical spreader operators earn a $10,523 higher salary than equipment operators a year.

    A similarity between the two careers of equipment operators and mechanical spreader operators are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "cdl," "hand tools," and "safety rules. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real equipment operator resumes. While equipment operator responsibilities can utilize skills like "loaders," "asphalt," "backhoe," and "osha," some mechanical spreader operators use skills like "plumbing," "preventive maintenance," "repair equipment," and "mechanical systems."

    On average, mechanical spreader operators earn a higher salary than equipment operators. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, mechanical spreader operators earn the most pay in the energy industry with an average salary of $48,520. Whereas, equipment operators have higher paychecks in the energy industry where they earn an average of $38,765.

    On the topic of education, mechanical spreader operators earn similar levels of education than equipment operators. In general, they're 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Heavy Machinery Operator Compares

    The heavy machinery operator profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of equipment operators. The difference in salaries is heavy machinery operators making $388 lower than equipment operators.

    By looking over several equipment operators and heavy machinery operators resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "cdl," "backhoe," and "end loaders." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from equipment operators resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "loaders," "asphalt," "hand tools," and "safety rules." But a heavy machinery operator might have skills like "inspect machines," "assembly line," "steer loader," and "machine operation."

    Heavy machinery operators make a very good living in the automotive industry with an average annual salary of $36,835. Whereas equipment operators are paid the highest salary in the energy industry with the average being $38,765.

    When it comes to education, heavy machinery operators tend to earn similar education levels than equipment operators. In fact, they're 0.4% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Foreman/Operator

    Foreman/operators tend to earn a higher pay than equipment operators by about $21,105 per year.

    While both equipment operators and foreman/operators complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like cdl, backhoe, and end loaders, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Each job requires different skills like "loaders," "asphalt," "hand tools," and "safety rules," which might show up on an equipment operator resume. Whereas foreman/operator might include skills like "dozer," "underground utilities," "competent person," and "jsa."

    The average resume of foreman/operators showed that they earn similar levels of education to equipment operators. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.7% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.1%.